Water Conservation Winter Weather Tips

Do not be caught by surprise when sub-freezing temperatures strike the City of Santa Fe.  A lengthy cold snap of temperatures in the teens or 20s can cause pipes to freeze and burst pipes.  Winterizing your home, business, or irrigation system is an important consideration for property owners and residents of Santa Fe.  Plumbing is especially susceptible to cold weather and freezing.  Any exposed water piping in unheated and non-insulated spaces such as in a crawlspace, attic, or in outside walls should be insulated.  Below-freezing temperatures that are sustained over a few days can cause water pipes and meters to freeze. Special attention should be given when the outdoor air temperature does not rise above freezing during the day time hours. This can stop water service to your home and may be expensive to repair or replace. Property owners are responsible for protecting pipes from the meter and throughout their property.

If you experience water pipe freezing, call 955-4333 during work hours and 955-4300 after hours or on weekends.

There are many ways to help prevent your water pipes from freezing in extreme weather. Some suggestions include:

  • Wrap exposed water pipes, especially those in unheated areas such as a basement or crawl space, with insulation and/or heat tape.
  • If your kitchen or bathroom sink is located against an outside wall, insulate the wall.
  • Providing ventilation to pipes will allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes, such as opening the cabinet door below the sink.
  • For mobile homes, make sure the skirting is in place.
  • Water pipes under the mobile home can be wrapped with insulation and heat tape.
  • Disconnect garden hoses from all outdoor faucets to allow frost-free faucets to drain.
  • Never completely shut off the heat when you are away, lower the thermostat, but never shut it off
  • Disconnect and drain swamp cooler lines.
  • Make sure openings or cracks which allow cold outside air and wind near the pipes are sealed.

• Never use a flame or hair dryer to thaw frozen pipes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I put insulation and a heater or heat lamp in the meter pit to keep my meter from freezing?

The water meter and meter pit are the property of and responsibility of the city. Customers are not allowed to enter the meter pit due to city ordinance, Chapter 25 Exhibit A 10-B.1 SFCC 1987.

How long will it take to get someone out to my house?

The Water Division’s goal is to respond within 24 hours; unique conditions may extend response times.

How long will I be without water?

Most services can be restored within one hour of arrival.

In what order are the work orders being sent out? Who has priority?

In the event that the volume of calls for loss of service due to water freezing along the water service exceeds the ability to restore service promptly, hospital and major medical facilities, senior centers, and schools will be given first priority. Residential and commercial services will be given second priority, and construction and vacant services will be third.

What parts of my service are my property and my responsibility?

The property owner’s responsibility for maintenance begins immediately after the meter pit up through the entire home or building. However, the water meter and meter pit are the property and responsibility of the city.

Is the city of Santa Fe going to pay for any damages to pipes or repairs that need to be done on my side of the service?

Property owners are responsible for protecting and repairing pipes from the meter pit and throughout their home.

Do I have to pay for the water that I let drip to prevent freezing?

This water does go through the water meter and you will be charged for it just as if you were using it for any other purpose. We ask that customers who use this technique as a preventive measure make every effort to recycle the water, which will offset the water use.